Meet Brian Hodges a South Yorkshire grants panel member for North West Sheffield

Brian started as a member of the South East Sheffield grants panel but has since joined the North West Sheffield panel and is now the panels chair. Brian has been involved in grants panels for 27 years as he began looking for something else to do after being forced to give up work following a stroke. Brian feels that being involved in the grants panels has helped him with his rehabilitation and has also been very rewarding as he his volunteering benefits local people in need of support.

As the chair of the NW Sheffield grants panel Brian’s responsibilities include reviewing the grant applicants use of resources, ensuring all panel members can contribute to decisions, and also growing and maintaining his own knowledge of the voluntary charity sector and the local community.

During Brian’s time volunteering with grants panels he has seen them help local groups by enabling them to further their community involvement through grants awards for equipment, training and services for vulnerable people in the community. Brian in particular recalls how in the beginning of his time with the grants panel they helped to fund a Somali disabled women’s group, who wished to receive funding for sewing machines that would allow for greater community cohesion.

Brian says that what makes him proudest about the work he and the grants panels do is the extent of their reach and impact because of the large number of groups they

have supported, encouraged and enabled to grow over the years [that gives] me the most satisfaction.’

For anyone looking to potentially join a grants panel in the future, Brian advises you to

‘come on in and get involved in rewarding, important and fun’

work alongside volunteers who were once as inexperienced and new to this as you. Brian is especially glad he took part in the grants panels as it has made him aware of the range and diversity of positive community activities happening across South Yorkshire. Brian found the process of joining the grants panel extremely welcoming as he was trained on what would be required of him and the work he would be completing as a panel member prior to fully joining the panel. Part of this included access to and the attendance of a workshop Awayday at Wentworth College.

Find out more about volunteering opportunities with SYCF